2014-07-18 / Front Page

Looking for a good home

By Craig Skeffington
Contributing Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND – Padding across the wellmanicured lawn toward Mary Ann, it is easy to see that someone is bound to fall in love with her. Mary Ann is a Starfish 8 trawler style pleasure boat and, in the seafaring tradition, was named for the beloved wife of Robert Berger. The Bergers enjoyed being on the water and aboard Mary Ann, cast off for many coastal adventures from their home in South Freeport.

Behind the scenes, South Portland resident Jim Harris helped the Bergers with maintaining Mary Ann, and it wasn’t long before a lasting friendship developed between the two families. From that point, the Harris family was often included on coastal cruises. It was on one such cruise about a decade ago that Robert gestured Jim to come inside the wheelhouse and told him it was to be his last boating season – and after that the Mary Ann would be his.

The Mary Ann could soon be yours, for the right price. Jim Harris and his wife have decided to “pay it forward” so to speak, and donate the boat to the Hot Waters Community Fundraiser. The committee was formed about a year ago to raise the funds necessary to replace the hot tub at South Portland Community Center. Jan Crosby, committee chairman, said the group is about half way to reaching the $100,000 needed to replace the original hot tub that served the community from 1979 until the need for extensive repairs caused it to be shut down. The boat is for sale and can be seen by appointment by calling Jim Harris directly at 252-0996.

In addition to the sale of Mary Ann, the committee is organizing a Lap Challenge event scheduled for the end of August or early September. It is not too early to start forming a team and gathering pledges. Crosby is working on getting local police officers and firefighters to organize teams so challengers might have to face a group of pretty tough men and women.

Jim Harris and his wife Nancy moved to South Portland about the time the pool was opened and enjoyed using both the pool and the hot tub regularly. When the hot tub had to be shut down, Harris said they lost interest in using the pool altogether. Harris wanted to get involved when he heard about formation of the Hot Waters Committee because he believes in the therapeutic value of using the hot tub after a good workout in the pool.

Harris said according to a local marina, the estimated value of the Mary Ann is $15,000. Built in 1974 by Sea Way of England, the North Sea Trawler-style boat is to the Brits what the lobster boat is to those of us in New England. She has a 9-foot beam and is very stable in the water, Harris said. Although never used as a work boat, Harris said she can handle a load and would make a great boat for someone owning property on one of the islands.

For those who are interested in the nuts and bolts, she has hydraulic steering and is powered by a turbocharged 6 cylinder Ford Lehman diesel engine with 700 hours on the clock. Other features include radar, loran, GPS and two depth finders. It is a deep-keeled boat that also has a propeller cage. Harris said she is in good shape and only requires attention to a couple items, such as repair to the autopilot and furnace.

Tax-deductible donations for the new hot tub can be made to the city of South Portland, online through the city website or mailed or dropped off at either city hall or the community center. Crosby welcomes ideas and any help, and encourages contractors who are willing to donate services to get in touch.

For more information, contact Jan Crosby at southportlandhotwaters@gmail.com.

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